The two colonies at Old Frog Pond Farm are really thriving. This summer has been a challenge with the drought, but these two colonies have access to amazing forage and water. It’s been about three weeks since I last visited these hives. The last time I inspected the hives, I found a lot of queen cups. At that time the cups were all empty so I hoped the bees would stay.
Today did not have the best weather, but the bees were still patient with me. I started with the Orchard hive and I needed to work somewhat quickly. They are filling up the hive nicely and are in need of more space. I added three more bars for them. I also took one bar of capped honey.
When I added the three empty bars, I ended up putting them all next to each other. I usually do not do that. I like to add one bar at a time in between two fully drawn out bars. That encourages the bees to build the comb straight down. Today I was just concerned about the possibility of rain and I did not want to have the hive opened if it did rain.
After I closed up the Orchard hive I walked over to the Willow hive. At first, I just thought I would look into the window and open the hive another day. When I opened the window I got a surprise. The bees were building comb on the bottom of the hive! I had no choice, but to open the hive up and clean up the mess.
Luckily, the comb on the bottom was filled with capped honey. I gently scraped it off the bottom and put it with the bar that I had taken from the Orchard hive. It was very exciting to get even more honey. All I had time for with the Willow hive was to clean up this mess that they had made. It looked at felt like the rain was coming at any moment. I closed up the hive and right after I put the lid on a light rain started.
Even with the weather not being ideal, these bees were all still very calm and relaxed. It is so pleasant to inspect these hives. I am really enjoying working with such easy going bees, it makes beekeeping so much more fun.
I headed back to the farm about nine days later. I needed to rearrange the empty bars that I had clumped together. I opened up the Orchard hive, hoping that they had not made a mess of the bars. The bees were a little bit grumpy today, but they had not built any crazy comb. I didn’t move the bars around too much, I just put them in between some already drawn out bars toward the end. This way I don’t rearrange their hive too much.
Everything else looked good so I closed up the hive and headed over to the Willow hive. I looked in the window and they had not made any more messes. They also still have some space left. I did not need to open the hive today. It was nice to just watch the bees without disturbing them.
At home I processed the honey that I had collected. I cut the comb off of the bar and put it into cheesecloth. Then I use my hands and I crush the comb to squeeze the honey out. I squeeze out as much as I can and then I let it sit in a stainer over night to let the rest drain down. Once it comb is strained, I put it with my collection of comb to be melted down. Then I put the honey into jars. I just scoop it out of the bowl and pour it into the jars. It is such a simple process.
I got about four pounds of honey from the one bar and the chunk of comb that I had collected. The bar that I had taken was only half full with capped honey and it gave me about three pounds of honey. The honey from the these hives tastes amazing! They also taste different from one another. The difference is not huge, but it is there.